If you’re a runner, you probably already know that you need to keep your muscles flexible and increase their range of motion or you’ll suffer from injuries. Finding the best stretches for runners can help you prepare your muscles for exercising and also reduce the tightness after you run, since exercising causes the muscles to constrict. Stretching before running also increases the blood flow to the muscle tissue and gets them prepared for the run. Here are a few stretches you’ll find helpful.
Stretch the quadriceps.
It might seem simple, but it’s very effective. You can stretch your quadriceps, the muscle in the front part of the leg, with a simple easy action. Pull your leg behind you bending at the knee by using the hand on the same side. Pull up with the knee pointing down. If you have good balance, you may not need it, but it can be helpful to hold onto something to prevent falling.
Your hamstrings should receive attention too.
Making sure your hamstrings are up for the challenge is also important. These are the muscles on the back of the leg and help bend the knee and help you straighten your upper part of the leg at the hip. A great hamstring stretch requires you to sit with one leg, in this case we’ll use the left leg first, extended and the other leg, right leg, bent with the foot touching the inner thigh of the left leg. Lean forward, without rounding your back and reach for your toes. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. Don’t over stretch to the point of injury. You don’t have to pull your toes toward you, just limber up the area. Do it on the other leg.
Loosen your calf muscles.
This stretch is so easy to do, but extremely effective. Stand by a wall with it close enough to touch if you stretch. Put one foot, we’ll use the left again, in front of the other. The right leg remains straight while you put your hands on the wall and bend the knee of the left leg. You’ll feel the stretching of the muscles in the right leg. Reverse legs.
Loosen the muscles down the outside of the thighs with a stretch. Stand near a wall for balance, cross the left leg in front of the right with them crossed at the ankles and lift the left arm over your head. Balance with your right arm as you stretch to the right.
Stretch your back by standing with hands behind it, shoulders up and posture good. Push the pelvis under and back. Hold and release.
Don’t forget your glutes. Lay on the ground with legs lifted. Pull on toward your chest, bending at the knee and then do the other after extending the first.
Push ups on a soft surface can help release tight back muscles.